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dbellagio

07:36AM | 02/01/05
Member Since: 01/30/05
4 lifetime posts
So, when I pulled off the old fixture, it was set up for 3 60 Watt bulbs. It had a heavy metal shield and was mostly ugly metal. The wires leading to the supply wires were old and brittle from heat I guess. So, normally, I would not have found this as I would have just replaced the bulbs and went on. Would that have been more safe? But, since I could not figure out how to get the fisture to expose the bulbs, I tore it down, and decided to replace (it was ugly too). So, the wife brought home the new pretty fixture and then I saw the wraning sticker during installation. Went up in the attic and noticed the NM rating on that wire. So, I guess I could leave the light on all day and stick a thermometer up there. Or just live with it. I replaced it with a 30 Watt flourescent tube that supposedly puts out 125 watts of light. It is much brighter in there. But, now I am worried about fire risk, all because of that warning sticker. So, I am tempted to just rip the thing down and take it back to the store and get a regular fixture where I can see the light bulbs. Even though the old wires look fine and I believe the new fixture is better built to dissapate the heat. Maybe I could call the local inspector and see what they say. All of this because someone created a product that only will work in 1/2 of the homes in the world? Or is it less than half?

Super

dbellagio

08:12AM | 02/02/05
Member Since: 01/30/05
4 lifetime posts
Replying to my own post (I like talking to myself). I called the local electrician. He said they would look at the wiring and would install if appropriate. However, if any question about safety, I could easily just put another box in, and run 90C wire to the new fixture. So, no real help there. He also said all fixtures have that label, even the ones for bedrooms which have open bulbs (is this true)? So, if every new fixture has this warning, then what am I to do? And shouldn't the old fixtures have problems too (even though that was code at the time)? So, again, lawyers get involved and make life difficult. I thought the reason for the wire box was to prevent a fire in the first place? More questions, no answers. Maybe I will take the time to put a new box in my attic. That sounds like a fun task. Or, look at the other fixtures the next time I am in the store.

Super

Tom O

02:09PM | 02/02/05
Member Since: 09/17/02
487 lifetime posts
As far as the box is concerned, it is not there to prevent fires and it is not there to contain fires. It serves 2 main purposes, one is to provide a mounting means for the fixture and the other is to provide protection from accidental contact with the enclosed conductors.

I don't believe that the requirement for 90 degree insulation came from lawyers, it came from field experiance. I remember when you could purchase a light fixture & there wasn't even a mention of the maximum wattage lamp that was allowed. I've taken down plenty of old fixtures and found brittle insulation on the conductors in the ceiling box.

Heat damage can take many years to happen, so the poster that said he has had no problems so far, is only one installation for a fairly short time frame. Using that logic, I know of plenty of houses that don't have GFCI's installed, no one's been electrocuted in those houses, so why bother with GFCI's.

From the Underwriters Laboratories General Information For Electrical Equipment, The products in this directory are intended to be installed in accordance with the installation instructionsprovided with the product. It is critical that the cautionary statements and installation and operating instructions on the product and in accompanying literature be followed." Sounds like a warning to me.

Anyhow, since you have access to your attic, pulling the wires back out of the box, installing a junction box & extending new wire into the old fixture box is not that hard of a project.

dbellagio

10:00AM | 02/05/05
Member Since: 01/30/05
4 lifetime posts
Tom O. I agree with you. But, I've not yet had time to either replace the fixture or go up in the attic and muck around with the wiring. They should just make fixtures that don't have this problem.

Super

Wireman

10:36AM | 02/05/05
Member Since: 12/19/04
62 lifetime posts
Tom,

I sort of guess by your responses that you might be an electrician so I have a question for you. Anytime you have a customer request that you install a replacement light fixture do you tell them that they will have to tear the ceilings open and replace the wiring? Or only when there is an attic above the existing fixture? Where do you cut the line as to when the customer should spend $500.00 or more to rewire boxes to install a $50.00 fixture because of the label? Super. Quit being such a worry wart. If the new fixtures aren't supposed to be connected to wiring rated less than 90 deg why would you think the existing fixtures could be? I had suggested to you to contact the local inspector but I guess he has to worry about that label too (you know, the liability crisis this country is suffering from. Nobody will do anything for anybody because they are afraid of "liability") For heavens sake, isntall the fixture and don't worry about it. If you spend too much more time getting that fixture installed you won't have a wife. Here, try this, go to city hall with the fixture. Hand it to the electrical inspector (preferably, the lead inspector) show him the label, tell him the type nm cable you have in your home and ask him if you can install that fixture as a replacement. If he says no, ask him if they are requiring folks to tear open ceilings and walls to rewire for these fixtures. Just do it. And please, email me to let me know what they say. "papastarr@yahoo.com".

phmoffett

03:42PM | 02/06/05
Member Since: 02/05/05
5 lifetime posts
My house was built in 1962. One of the original fixtures no longer works and needs replacement. I see the same warning and I'm baffled by it. Am I to believe lighting fixtures manufactured PRIOR TO 1985 did produced LESS HEAT than fixtures manufactured AFTER 1985? I don't see the difference in the manufacture of a 100w bulb manufactured prior now and 1962. So what's the story there?


Tom O

01:53PM | 02/07/05
Member Since: 09/17/02
487 lifetime posts
I have never run into this particular problem with my customers. Since swapping out a fixture does not appear to be a hard job, most of them DIY & probably shrug their shoulders when they try to understand the 90 degree wiring requirement.

I have had customers hand me fixtures that were made outside the U.S., usually China, that did not have a NRTL listing label on them. I tell them that I won't install that fixture and why. If I lose business, so be it.

As far as new fixtures vs old being connected to 60 degree wiring, the probelm was evidently not recognized prior to the labeling that requires 90 degree branch circuit conductors. Are we supposed to go on installing potential fire hazards for ever, or do we adopt a new requirement?

I'm having a hard time understanding why you're ignoring the expert advice & requirements being set forth by UL and others. I think Underwriters Laboratories and other nationally recognized testing laboratories have a lot more experience with this issue.

Evidently, you don't feel that compliance with the NEC is required in this case. Do you just go along with the code when you agree with it? I'll be the first to agree that there are a lot of nit-picking details in the NEC, but where do you draw the line as to what parts you're going to comply with?

Ah, well, I guess we'll just have to disagree over the importance of this particular issue. And yes, I am an electrician and an AHJ.

Tom


bravey

03:25PM | 02/07/05
Member Since: 06/23/04
164 lifetime posts
Changes in building codes work like this: If a building (including electrical work) was constructed in full compliance with a current code, any later changes in the code are NOT retroactively applied. The installation is acceptable and legal even though current codes differ. This is often refered to as "grandfathering". The only time that current codes are applied are when there is a clear and present danger to life safety or when remodeling is so extensive that the cost of upgrading is of a diminished significance. Repairs can be made if such repairs are not extensive (local rules vary) and do not lessen the safety level of the original installation. All of this may seem a bid vague, but prevents buildings from being constantly torn apart every time a regulation is introduced, altered, or upgraded. Generally, a device with higher grade standard may be fitted to existing lower grade systems unless such installation would constitute a danger or increased risk of danger.

Regards

phmoffett

06:46PM | 02/08/05
Member Since: 02/05/05
5 lifetime posts
I'm NOT trying to avoid a safety warning -- just trying to understand the threat level.

Let me see if I can reduce the argument to the basics. SOOOO Here goes --- Nothing has changed as far as the heat generated by a lighting fixture with a 100w bulb flush mounted to a box since my house was built in 1962. The same fixture manufactured today would generate the same heat with the same 100w incandescent bulb as the fixture manufactured in 1962. So -- the ONLY thing that's changed since 1962 is that sheathed electrical cable is now rated at a higher temperature. SO - I must have been living with the same threat of fire due since 1962 as I do today should I replace the fixture using the very same 1962 era sheathed electrical cable.


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